Vascular anatomy of the free fibula flap including the lateral head of the soleus muscle applied to maxillo-mandibular reconstruction
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Initially described by Baudet in 1982, the fibula flap including the lateral head of the soleus muscle allows a one-stage reconstruction for large maxillo-mandibular defects. The aim of this study was to evaluate the number of muscular branches destined to the soleus muscle and their distance from the origin of the fibular artery, to assess the vascular anatomy of the free fibula flap including the lateral head of the soleus muscle applied to maxillo-mandibular reconstruction.
We performed a cadaveric anatomic study on ten lower limbs, and a CT angiography anatomic study on 38 legs. The number of soleus branches originating from the fibular artery, and the distance between the origin of the fibular artery and each of the identified branches were measured.
The number of soleus branches destined to the lateral head of the soleus muscle is variable, with in our study 1–3 branches found. Soleus branches destined to the lateral head of the soleus muscle emerged at a distance ranging between 0 and 2.9 cm (mean value = 1.82 cm) from the origin of the fibular artery in 40% of cases, between 3 and 5.9 cm (mean value = 4.27 cm) from the origin of the fibular artery in 37% of cases, and was at a distance of 6 cm or more (mean value = 6.93 cm) from the origin of the fibular artery in 20% of cases.
An origin of the soleus vessels in close proximity to the origin of the fibular artery represents the main limitation of this flap, the length of the remaining fibular pedicle making it difficult to achieve secure anastomosis in the cervical area. The vascular distribution of the proximal part of the lateral head of the soleus muscle being segmental, it is possible to lengthen the flap pedicle ligating the most proximal soleus branches originating from the fibular artery.
KeywordsFibula flap Soleus muscle Reconstruction Pedicle length CT angiography Cadaveric study
LN: protocol development, data collection, data analysis, manuscript writing. JD: data analysis, manuscript writing. FB: data collection. BD: other. SD: other. CV: protocol development, data analysis, manuscript writing and editing.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
We have no conflict of interest to declare.
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